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Two bitcoin advocates have launched a campaign in Jersey in an effort to unite the local cryptocurrency community and position the Channel Island to be a leading jurisdiction for bitcoin and bitcoin-related businesses.
Bit.coin.je aims to build the world's first "bitcoin isle", pushing local businesses to integrate bitcoin payment systems into their transactions and encouraging foreign bitcoin businesses, such as exchanges and hardware manufacturers, to establish themselves on the island.
"We're aiming to position Jersey as a jurisdiction that welcomes bitcoin and bitcoin-related businesses and the island's in a perfect position to do so, especially as a regulatory space," Robbie Andrews, co-founder of Bit.coin.je, told IBTimes UK.
"We've got great links with both the UK and the EU, but we're outside both, and we already have a very strong financial services sector."
The battle for bitcoin domination
A variety of other Crown Dependencies and British Overseas Territories, traditionally considered tax-havens, are also lining themselves up to create bitcoin havens in an effort to boost their local economies.
As a cryptocurrency, bitcoin is decentralised and borderless, meaning countries are unsure how to regulate it. Some, including the United States, have decided to treat bitcoin as property rather than a currency for tax purposes, while earlier this year China banned financial institutions from dealing with cryptocurrency exchanges.
Smaller jurisdictions with less bureaucratic procedures are therefore ideally suited to take command of this nascent but rapidly expanding sector, with the Isle of Man, Gibraltar and Singapore all recently making moves to encourage bitcoin businesses to move to their shores.
Andrews is confident that while his Bit.coin.je campaign may not be the first, it will provide the platform for Jersey to become a pioneer in the world of bitcoin and cryptocurrency.
"We're not in a rush to be the first (in race to be leading bitcoin jurisdiction), but we do we aim to have a definitive timeline in place for businesses interested in setting up in the space and to provide the most solid platform," said Andrews.
"We want to make it easy for anyone to understand the tax environment here, consumer risks, relocation issues and everything else they might want to know - and we're already well on our way to doing so."